The Middle East Eye recently featured a number of Arab Americans who have taken to the streets to protest the murder of George Floyd. According to the New York Times, at the peak of the protests on June 6, half a million people came out in nearly 500 places across the United States on that single day. The protests brought people together in the call for justice for George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Briana Taylor – all unarmed Black people killed at the hands of police – and an end to police brutality and systemic racism.
In addition to speaking outward, many communities including the Arab and Muslim community have reflected and led initiatives to eradicate racism within their own communities. Palestinian Taher Herzallah was featured in this article and spoke on solidarity with the Black community from his perspective as an advocate for Palestine. Taher has written for Al-Jazeera, spoken for AMP, has been featured in The Electronic Intifada, and has written a manual for activists on university campuses called “Everybody Freeze!”
He said, “I feel that as a Muslim American, and as a Palestinian American, I needed to show up where it was needed most, instead of spending time on Facebook, putting [up] a black Facebook profile picture. I wanted to actually be on the ground, putting myself between Black bodies and police, making sure that we were making the best use of our youth and our health to help our brothers and sisters in this moment.”
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He goes on to speak on the historic connection between Black and Palestinian movements, saying “The Black Panther Party and Malcolm X were meeting with Palestinian leaders and travelling to the region to engage in these discussions. And I think historically speaking this is a beautiful part of that. We have a history. I’m not doing anything new by participating in these protests, per se. I’m actually just continuing that tradition of solidarity between our two communities and our two struggles.”